The Best DIY's Recipes For Sensory Play

Homemade Play-Dough by Modern Parents Messy Kids

School’s out for the summer! If you’re a parent like me, you dread the first rainy day that keeps your kids inside and finds you desperately searching Pinterest for a fun and simple DIY project to entertain the kids with some novelty! Homemade recipes for Gak, Oobleck, Snow Paint, Silly Putty or Play-Dough take commonly found household ingredients and allow a child to learn through doing while challenging their cognitive, language, sensory, fine motor, and motor planning skills—all disguised with food coloring, glitter, and slime! Help your child develop core language skills by directing you through the steps of gathering needed ingredients and supplies, measuring, and mixing. Model how to comment on the changes in texture, color, shape, and temperature. Promote conversation during play with the end product! Foster imagination by playing alongside your child and creating new designs, hiding toys or objects inside, or using the sensory play in a new way! Pinching, rolling, squeezing, squishing, and pushing will strengthen fine motor muscles. Add funnels, tweezers, pitchers, rolling pins, and cookie cutters to see what little hands can do to explore in new ways while they develop motor planning skills. Watch the natural interactions and countless skill developments unfold when a child’s sensory interests are piqued. So if you’re trying to avoid the next "Pinterest Fail,” keep in mind all of the skills your child is working to develop and consider how you can support them with something new! 

 Homemade Play-Dough by Modern Parents Messy Kids

Homemade Play-Dough by Modern Parents Messy Kids

HOMEMADE PLAY-DOUGH

All Kids love Play-Dough! It's squishy, cool, bright, and so much fun to play with. And now you can make it at home with your kids. This recipe from Modern Parents Messy Kids is super easy, inexpensive, and a perfect rainy-day project. Plus this play dough comes out in beautiful, soft shades and it smells delicious. You will need: 1 cup of white flour+ 1 cup of warm water + 2 tbsp of salt + 2 tbsp of cream of tartar + 2 tbsp of cooking oil + 13 oz pack of Jell-O. And it's done in 4 Simple Steps: Mix all of the ingredients together in a small saucepan until most of the lumps are gone. 2. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until it thickens into a ball of dough. 3. Place the dough onto a floured cutting board and wait for it to cool. 4, Once it is cool (at least 20-30 minutes) let the little ones knead it, adding in flour until it is no longer sticky (about 1/2 cup). For more great DIY ideas, visit Modern Parents Messy Kids!

YOGURT SILLY PUTTY

Kids will really enjoy this silly putty because it is super soft and fun to play with. And we love that this Yogurt Silly Putty is made with just two ingredients, that you probably already have at home, yogurt and cornstarch. When finished, the texture of this putty a cross between slime and play dough. Watch the video to see how it's done! This awesome recipe is from Smart School House. Visit their site for lots of fun and easy DIY ideas to do with your kids.

 Gak by Lil Luna

Gak by Lil Luna

NEON GAK

This homemade GAK recipe by Lil Luna takes two minutes to make but will provide hours of entertainment! You'll need: Two 4oz. bottles of Elmer’s Glue, 1 tsp. of Borax and Betty Crocker Neon Gel Food Colors), + a bowl and a measuring cup. And it's done in five simple steps: 1. Gather all your supplies together. 2. Empty the two bottles of glue into a bowl. Then fill those bottles with warm water and shake. Empty that mixture into a large bowl. 3. Add some food coloring and set aside. 4. Mix 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tsp. borax until borax dissolves and then pour this into the bowl with the glue mixture. Start stirring and you will notice how it starts becoming stringy. Keep mixing by using your hands and squishing around. You will notice after a few minutes that it becomes pretty gelatinous. 5. Let the kids play with it and it will become the perfect gooey consistency! When you're done using your Gak, you can store it in a sealable container or Ziploc bag for about two weeks. And please visit Lil Luna for more DIY ideas.

****

Alescia Ford-Lanza is an Occupational Therapist and Assistive Technology Practitioner with nearly 15 years of pediatric experience. She specializes in educationally-relevant interventions with a focus on sensory integration and assistive technology supports to learning. Alescia recently founded Adapt & Learn, LLC. on the mission that children of all abilities can play, learn, adapt, and develop with the right therapeutic and educational supports. Alescia strives to help children along this continuum by fostering a love of learning and building upon individual successes. Alescia resides in Avon, Connecticut with her husband and two daughters who she recruits in her Pinterest searches @adaptlearn. 

Carissa Tozzi